Sailors know too well
the running of marrow in their bones,
slate-gray dreams heaving them at angles
to the horizon—jagged, rolling—
as they ride meridians and sloping sorrows
to a compass point south of Capricorn.
They know of their blood’s own salt
and the odd rhythms that swell the heart,
tempting it with fathoms,
the same heart once married to soil
and content to split wood on the far side
of some forsaken country lane.
We have all crawled from the deep,
have all spawned amniotic dreams
of that time before minerals became as hard
as a life curved into gravity.
Such an awful legacy—to lumber forth on fins
while ancestors jackknife in foam.
We are all proverbial and pre-ordained,
seasick sailors who nevertheless ship our souls
to the deep where rolls our home
in measured strains from the moon:
“return, ye children of the single cell—
And like Ishmael,
we pause before the coffin warehouses
and spy funerals with a love too dear.
We take to our ships, cast off the lines,
knowing there is an abundance of tides
to help us circumnavigate
the drizzly November of the soul.
William Hammett, Louisiana, USA